The Thinking Machine #78

Faux d’artifice

In their series The Thinking Machine, critics Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin create a new video essay for Filmkrant every month.

Fireworks are an expensive item to stage for a movie (just ask Leos Carax). So, it’s natural that filmmakers in the 21st century would turn to the advanced realm of digital special effects to include this phenomenon within a story. It’s remarkable, however, that for certain directors – such Elia Suleiman and Roman Polanski – the appearance of digital fireworks (feux d’artifice in French) triggers a comical and surreal exaggeration of everything that is fake and artificial, cartoon-like and exaggerated, in the modern world.